Fryston Warriors 32-50 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
KEIGHLEY Cougars squeezed through to the Challenge Cup Fourth Round defeating Fryston Warriors in a game filled with talking points.
Craig Lingard kept his post-match interview short with Linners lambasting his side’s performance as “embarrassing” and criticising his players for being “dragged down to Fryston’s level.”
And Lingard was right, his side were dragged down to the Pennine League Champions level as shown by the second half brawl which marred an otherwise enthralling game of Rugby League.
An exchanging of words between Davey Dixon and Adam Rothwell boiled over and descended into utter chaos with numerous fights breaking out across the field.
This led to Dixon and Rothwell both being sent to the sin-bin whilst Andy Speake and Emmerson Whittel were both dismissed.
Whittel, whose red card could be deemed harsh in self-defence, came off worse as he found himself manhandled on the ground by a number of Fryston players, and disgracefully some spectators, leaving him with a broken jaw.
All this came just moments after an incident had been placed on report as Josh Lynam appeared to have his ear bitten in the tackle.
Prior to this, the Cougars were finding this cup tie a real banana skin as the hosts ruffled the feathers of the side five divisions above them.
Despite taking an early lead through James Feather who squeezed over from dummy half, Fryston drew level when former Keighley captain Paul Handforth broke downfield and sent Wayne McHugh racing over.
Josh Tonks restored the visitor’s advantage as he exposed a bus sized gap in the defensive line but they nearly found themselves heading into half-time trailing the community club.
Another former Cougar in Jack Lee threw a lovely dummy pass from the play the ball to put Andy Matthews over in the far corner with Handforth turning provider for McHugh once more as the centre pounced on a grubber kick.
But the sides would head to the dressing rooms level as Fryston were penalised for not standing square and the ball was worked across to Danny Lawton to dive over.
Despite an error from the restart, it would be first blood to the Cougars in the second half as Sean Kelly continued his impressive return from injury by taking the play the ball and weaving his way over under the posts.
Towering forward Steve Scott brought the amateurs back level when he powered over from close range despite the best efforts of Ritchie Hawkyard to halt his progress.
Then came the games big talking point but with the game reduced to 11-a-side, the Cougars turned the screw with three quick fire tries to effectively kill the game off as a contest.
The resulting penalty from the original exchange of punches went the way of the visitors and Adam Ryder was on hand to touch down.
Cougars then broke twice from restarts, Sean Kelly finished a flowing move for his second before Hawkyard was held short allowing Brendon Rawlins to crash over.
Shaun Gee touched down an Aaron Dobek grubber to bring the scores back within twelve points but Ryder broke down the left flank to send his winger Andy Gabriel racing to the line.
Jack Lee squeezed over to score against his former employers but Hawkyard had the final say finishing a break as Gabriel turned provider.